The boom in online executive education and how to jump on board
When COVID-19 upended the higher ed industry, executive education received a great opportunity on a silver platter. With people at home, conferences being cancelled and more time for professional development, schools offering online learning are successfully finding ways to make up for lost income in other areas. This article in Poets & Quants, highlights the new generation of students taking online executive education courses, how individual learners are driving growth and how online programs are growing exponentially as schools rush to replace residential content with online options.
With many schools facing the prospect of losing revenue if they don’t innovate, executive education is in a unique position. By migrating classes people have already paid for (so they don’t ask for a refund) online and adding new digital offerings, business schools are aiming to cover the gap of revenue that residential programs may be losing. Schools also recognize that online learning and working from home are going to persist, so next year’s projections may look very different.
Reasons why executive education is popular right now
In addition to the fact that executive education doesn’t necessarily need to be delivered in-person, the same immersive experience can be offered to students since technology lends well to presentation, discussion and even small group breakouts. Here are some other reasons why executive education programs are booming right now:
- People are working from home and more able to focus on professional development
- Workers need new skills as they tackle digital team alignment
- Managers are looking for new ways to address team dynamics
- Those transitioning to different roles as a result of the pandemic are brushing up their resumes
- Some companies are giving allocated time and budget to spend on personal growth
- Conferences are cancelled (or offered in a scaled-back format), so online learning and networking are ideal
- Programs not already online can transition with fewer logistics than degree programs
- Content can be delivered as-is; although instructional design is helpful, it isn’t required and professors can deliver using technology
Ways to take advantage of the market boom with online learning
If your school currently has online offerings, or you are in the midst of developing a digital delivery plan, here are a few tips to keep in mind for your marketing strategy to organizations and individuals. You may even consider expanding your reach to students who wouldn’t normally be able to attend your school due to geographic limitations or time constraints.
B2B marketing tactics
- Team with a company to become their online learning partner
- Market online executive education as a way to responsibly provide your employees with opportunities for professional development
- Showcase the need for learning how to manage change, cope with adversity, pivot management strategies and learn how to conduct a digital team
B2C marketing tactics
- Market online programs as resume-boosters if COVID-19 has driven a job shift
- Discuss benefits of learning to work in small digital teams
- Promote programs aimed at helping people overcome obstacles
- Point out now is a great time for professional development following conference cancellations
- Highlight networking, lower costs (if applicable) and the opportunity to participate in programs they couldn’t attend before
- Show flexibility allowing them to earn credentials from a university they couldn’t attend in person due to geographic limitations
As you navigate these uncertain times, lean on partners who have experience in marketing executive education and online programs. GPRS will help you shift your digital advertising and brainstorm ways to take advantage of unique opportunities in the market.